Lassen Volcanic National Park Backpacking & Summit

Trip Length4 Days
Group Size4-8
Activity level
Starting from
$1,499 for REI Members
$1,649 for non-members
DeparturesJul 2024-Sep 2025

Visit a landscape shaped by the spectacular forces of fire and ice. Backpack through the Fantastic Lava Beds, Painted Dunes, and Cinder Cone, then leave your pack at camp as we summit Lassen Peak.

We start our adventure in the quiet northeast corner of the park, where we travel through the unique terrain of Cinder Cone and the Fantastic Lava Beds. Hills of towering basalt flank crystal blue mountain lakes shaped by underwater lava flows. The dramatic terrain stands in stark contrast to the solitude of Lassen's backcountry, where we witness the forest's triumphant rebound from wildfire. The trek up Cinder Cone provides 360-degree views of Lassen Peak and the Painted Dunes, and climbing down into the actual cone itself is a backcountry experience all its own.

A visit to Lassen Volcanic National Park wouldn't be complete without heading into the heart of the park to trek up its namesake: Lassen Peak. An alpine start (a.k.a. pre-dawn) sets the tone as we race the sun to enjoy daybreak atop the southernmost active volcano in the Cascade mountain range.

Shaped by the powerful forces of fire and ice, Lassen Volcanic National Park's diverse terrain is the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts and geology geeks alike.

Trip Highlights

  • Backpack through the Fantastic Lava Beds and Painted Dunes
  • Hike up Cinder Cone and down into its crater
  • Sleep along the quiet shores of crystal clear mountain lakes
  • Learn about the rich human and cultural history of the region
  • Summit 10,457' Lassen Peak

Activities

This trip is rated Moderate [3]. Participants will be carrying their own backpacks weighing 35-40 pounds, distances of 4-7 miles daily over varied terrain. Nearly all hikes take place at elevations between 6-7,000' with Lassen Peak reaching 10,457' above sea level. Guests should expect travel on soft ash or loose rock and sand leftover from volcanic activity and fires that have shaped the landscape over time. To maximize your enjoyment of the trip, we strongly encourage participants to be involved in a training regimen before the trip. The most important factor to enjoy this trip is your overall fitness level.

  • Backpacking

What's Included

Professional instruction and guiding; meals as noted on the daily itinerary; 2-person tents; group cooking gear; group first aid kit, water filter; national park fees; campsite and permit fees; transportation between trailheads and Redding, CA.

Accommodations

Backcountry Camping, 2 nights; Established Campground, 1 night

Your Adventure Itinerary

Itinerary map for Lassen Volcanic National Park Backpacking & Summit
Day 1

Enjoy views of the Fantastic Lava Beds from the shores of Butte and Snag Lakes

Our day starts this morning with a meeting and orientation in Redding, California. We then hop aboard a provided shuttle for a two-hour drive to the northeast corner of Lassen Volcanic National Park, where our trek begins. Our trail hugs the shores of Butte Lake, which was shaped by underwater lava fields and continues to be fed by nearby Snag Lake, where we set up camp for the evening. Lunch & dinner included.

Backpacking: 5.5 miles, Elevation gain/loss: minimal; Van transfer: 2 hours

Day 2

Meander through forests of first-year pine and cedar saplings with peek-a-boo views of Lassen Peak

Today's hike takes us deep into the peaceful corners of Lassen Volcanic National Park. As an ancestral meeting place for the Atsugewi, Yana, Yahi, and Maidu tribes, camps were established throughout the area to take advantage of prime warm-weather hunting and gathering conditions. We'll also witness first-hand the resilience of nature, as scars of recent wildfires are healed as the ecosystem regenerates.This evening we'll share stories from the day, before tucking into our sleeping bags and falling asleep under a sky full of stars.

Backpacking: 9 miles, Elevation gain/loss: + 900' / - 900'

Day 3

Hike through the spectacular Painted Dunes and up Cinder Cone

We round out the backpacking portion of our trek with a hike through some of the park's most spectacular volcanic terrain. Our ultimate goal for the day is the rim of Cinder Cone. Sitting at 6,906' of elevation, it's a perfect perch for viewing the vibrant Painted Dunes, the Fantastic Lava Beds, Lassen Peak, and the route we traveled the past two days. To fully experience Cinder Cone, we head down into the crater itself. We climb back out to the rim for lunch before packing up for the last mile of our hike back to the Butte Lake trailhead.

Our next stop is a front-country campground in the heart of Lassen Volcanic National Park. We set up camp for the night and take time to relax and enjoy dinner before heading to bed early—we've got an alpine start in the morning! All meals included

Backpacking: 6 miles, Elevation gain/loss: + 800' / - 800'

Day 4

Summit 10,457' Lassen Peak!

We wake up before dawn to prepare for our summit attempt of Lassen Peak. The world's largest "plug dome" volcano and the southernmost active volcano in the Cascade Range, Lassen also holds the distinction of being the largest lava dome in the world. On a good day, views from the top stretch as far south as Sacramento! After our summit we stop by the park's Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center to enjoy a picnic lunch and learn more about the park's history. We then hop in our shuttle back to Redding, where we hope to arrive by early evening. Breakfast & lunch included.

Hiking: 5 miles, Elevation gain/loss: + 2,000' /- 2,000'; Van transfer: 2 hours

Itinerary map for Lassen Volcanic National Park Backpacking & Summit

Gear List

We provide

What to pack

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 1 (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales ( 1 (800) 426-4840 ) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.

Trip specifics may change over time. Reviews reflect the version of the trip that was active at the time the reviewer took it. Please review the itinerary as described above and call our team for any additional details.